Another 8 COVID-19 cases in Evanston, 715 across Illinois

For the second day in a row, Evanston recorded 8 new confirmed COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total here to 97. The statewide count rose by 715 to a total of  7,695.

There were 192 new cases in Chicago, bringing that city's total to 3,279. Skokie reported six new cases today for a total of 52.

The state reported 16 new deaths today for a total of 157. Chicago reported two additional deaths for a total of 41. Evanston's death total remained at one. Skokie reported one additional death for a total of six.

At his news conference this afternoon Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the first 500 beds at the temporary hospital at McCormick Place are scheduled to open tomorrow -- just five days after construction began and that the state has identified a site for a fourth emergency hospital to respond to the increased need for hospital beds.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced that the state today received its first shipment of 15 of Abbott Laboratories new test devices that make it possible to detect a COVID-19 case in as little as five minutes.

Pritzker said he didn't want to make a decision about whether to keep Illinois schools closed beyond April 30 until much later this month, when, hopefully, the peak of coronavirus cases may have passed.

Ezike also stressed that a diagnosis of COVID-19 is "not a death sentence." She said that in one survey in Illinois 50% of those surveyed reported that they'd recovered just seven days after receiving their diagnosis, and she predicted that that number would be much larger if the same group was surveyed another week later.

Pritzker continued his criticism of President Trump's response to the pandemic, saying it will “go down in history as a profound failure of our national government.”

Chicago Business reports that the CEO of Evanston-based NorthShore University HealthSystem, J.P. Gallagher, was among the hospital network's first COVID-19 cases.

An internal company memo says Gallagher was diagnosed several weeks ago after experiencing a mild fever. He was not hospitalized and he's since been cleared to return to work.

The memo says patient volumes continue to rise at NorthShore, but its facilities are not yet at capacity.

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NU cases

Northwestern reports having had a total so far of seven cases, six on the Evanston campus and one on the Chicago campus.

Only one of the cases is known to have involved someone who is also an Evanston resident, and therefore only that one is included in the count of cases among Evanston residents -- since the tallies are based on place of residence, not place of work.

-- Bill